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WOTR Launches Manual on Water Stewardship Initiative to Enable Sustainable Water Management Practices in India

According to the Niti Aayog report, 600 people in India live in extreme water stress conditions. India is also the world's largest groundwater user, consuming more groundwater than China and the United States, the next two largest groundwater users combined.

Shivam Dwivedi
Sustainable Water Management
Sustainable Water Management

Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR), a globally recognized nonprofit organization, announced the publication of Water Stewardship in Rural India: A How-to Manual. The manual draws on WOTR's extensive experience in designing and implementing systems to protect and nurture water resources, and it provides a step-by-step approach to water management by enabling community stewardship.

The Water Stewardship Initiative (WSI) is based on the understanding that when various community stakeholders come together and are presented with realistic information about their climate, water resources, related productivity, and their socio-economic context, dialogue, and discussions among them are inevitable. This leads to the development of a common systemic understanding of their situation and are motivated and mobilized for sustainable action towards achieving water governance. It looks at community stakeholders as 'Water Managers' or stewards of the water resources in their villages.

While emphasizing WOTR’s ecosystem-based approach, the Water Stewardship in Rural India - A How to Manual draws from learnings and experience in designing and implementing the WSI programme in 250 villages across different Indian states, including 100 pilot villages in Maharashtra. The manual provides a credible and scientifically tested methodology that can be put to use by rural development and climate change practitioners for water management in the groundwater-dependent, arid and semi-arid regions of the country.

Speaking about the manual, Prakash Keskar Executive Director, WOTR, said, “The WSI manual captures our learnings and experiences from the Water Stewardship Initiative’s pilot project. From the 100 pilot villages in Maharashtra, the project has now expanded to 250 villages in different Indian states. By sharing this manual, we hope to inspire further and wider action across the country. India needs many more water managers or stewards to make water available sustainably and to all, while protecting her ecosystems – and we need to do it soon. We look forward to the participation of other organizations in furthering this cause and making our rural communities resilient to the water crisis.”

A 2018 Niti Aayog report estimates that 600 people in India live in extreme water stress conditions. India is also the world's largest user of groundwater and consumes more groundwater than China and the US, the next two largest groundwater-using countries, combined. With an alarming fall in groundwater tables and water-related conflicts on the rise, water resources need an effective governance mechanism to ensure their sustainability.

With the WSI programme, WOTR aims to bring the many stakeholders together to comprehensively address water-related issues at the community level. The WSI firmly aligns with the National Water Policy, the PMKSY, the Atal Bhujal Yojana and various groundwater laws.

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